Cádiz – the singing city
Now, I consider myself reasonably well travelled within Spain. I have visited a good number of Spanish cities and each has been beautiful. However, no city will ever quite match Cádiz, where I spent six months studying as an Erasmus student.
Before my Erasmus year, I knew very little about Cádiz but I decided to take a risk and explore new territory when my university gave me the choice of where to study.
Well, the risk certainly paid off. I have discovered a wonderful little corner of Spain, unknown to many, and all of the gems it has to behold.
Cádiz, Europe’s oldest city, hangs off Spain’s southern coast on a peninsula, surrounded almost entirely by water. As you leave the shady streets of the historical casco antiguo (old town), you are met with vast stretches of the blue Atlantic Ocean and white sandy beaches, which in my opinion are some of the best in Spain!
One of the great things about Cádiz is the wonderful, rich culture of food, drink and music. There are little tapas bars lining every street and most will serve tapas for around 1.50–2 euros, meaning you can try a whole variety of Andalusian dishes. The tortillitas de camarones (shrimp fritters) and chocos fritos (fried cuttlefish) were some of my best discoveries, served with a cold glass of tinto de verano (red wine and lemonade) or sherry from nearby Jerez.
So why has Cádiz come to be known as ‘The Singing City’? It comes from the annual carnival, one of the biggest in Europe. People flock to Cádiz to see it. During those ten days Cádiz’s narrow streets are filled with the sound of singing as musical groups fight for a place in the contest, which takes place the last Saturday of carnival. The songs are witty and satirical and perfectly demonstrate the sense of humour of the Gaditanos, who – besides being so warm and welcoming – are said to have the best sense of humour in Spain!
In a nutshell, that was my experience of Cádiz: a wonderful, typically Andalusian city which is often overlooked but very worth a visit. I am currently living in Huelva, just a short drive from Cádiz, so stay tuned for my next post!